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how to put WordPress in maintenance mode

How to Put WordPress in Maintenance Mode (Step-by-Step) 

Written By: author image Stacey Corrin
author image Stacey Corrin
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the co-founder of SeedProd. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Want to learn how to put WordPress in maintenance mode?

We use maintenance mode on hundreds of websites, so are well aware of how important they are for user experience. Whether you’re making updates, fixing bugs, or redesigning your entire site, maintenance mode is a great way to keep visitors from seeing your site while it’s under construction.

In this guide, we’ll use our experience to show you how to put WordPress in maintenance mode.

Table of Contents

What Is WordPress Maintenance Mode?

WordPress maintenance mode or WP maintenance mode is a status that shows a website maintenance message. This message tells visitors you’re carrying out scheduled maintenance.

For example, the message might say: “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”

Often, it creates a page or a message to substitute your main website so you can add a time frame for when your main website is live again.

When Should I Enable Maintenance Mode in WordPress?

There are many reasons to put WordPress in maintenance mode. Here are a few of the most common scenarios:

  • Make major changes to your site. This could include updating your WordPress theme, plugins, or core WordPress files. Any of these changes could potentially break your site, so it’s best to put it in maintenance mode while you’re working on them.
  • Troubleshoot technical issues. If your site is experiencing errors or other problems, putting it in maintenance mode can help isolate the issue and make it easier to fix.
  • Migrate your site to new web hosting. When you’re migrating your site, it’s important to enable maintenance mode first. This will prevent visitors from accessing your site during the move.
  • Launch a new website. If you’re launching a new website, you can hide it until it’s ready to go live. This prevents visitors from seeing a blank or unfinished site, instead showing a user-friendly landing page.
  • Take your site offline for any other reason. For example, you might want to enter maintenance mode during a planned outage or while you’re on vacation.

There are many ways to put WordPress in maintenance mode. Many tutorials tell you to edit your .htaccess update file, which is hard for beginners.

Below, we’ll share a few easier ways to create a maintenance page in WordPress.

How to Put WordPress in Maintenance Mode with SeedProd

First, you should install a WordPress maintenance mode plugin.

For this, we’ll use the SeedProd landing page and website builder plugin because it comes with maintenance mode functionality built-in.

SeedProd best WordPress maintenance mode plugin

SeedProd has a library of stunning landing page templates, including maintenance and coming soon, with guaranteed support to help set up a maintenance page quickly.

You can also gather leads and subscribers while your site’s down for maintenance by adding modules like opt-in forms, subscription forms, giveaways, and contact forms so visitors can sign up for notifications when your site’s back up.

So, let’s check out how to use SeedProd to enable WordPress maintenance mode.

Step 1. Install the SeedProd Plugin

First, click here to get started with SeedProd. Then, install and activate the plugin in your WordPress dashboard. If you need help with this step, check out this guide for installing a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation of SeedProd, it will ask you to verify your license key via the plugin’s settings page. You can find your license key in the Downloads section of your SeedProd account. Paste the key in the blank field you see on your screen.

how to put WordPress in maintenance mode with seedprod

Once your license is verified, click the Create Your First Page Button further down the screen. You’ll see the SeedProd dashboard, where you can activate all the different page modes and add new landing pages.

Let’s now move on to creating your maintenance mode page in WordPress.

Step 2. Set Up a WordPress Maintenance Mode Page

At the top of the SeedProd dashboard, you’ll see 4 different sections:

  • Coming Soon Mode – This option adds a coming soon page to your website.
  • Maintenance Mode – This lets you activate maintenance mode.
  • 404 Page – Display a custom 404 landing page on your WordPress website.
  • Login Page – Create a custom WordPress login page.

You’ll need the second option to create a maintenance page on your website. So go ahead and click the Set Up a Maintenance Mode Page option to get started.

Set up a WordPress maintenance mode page

SeedProd offers you tons of design options for your maintenance mode landing page. You can either build your page from scratch or use a ready-made theme from the library of landing page templates.

After clicking the button to set up your maintenance mode page design, you’ll see various templates.

Choose a WordPress maintenance mode template

Just hover your mouse over any maintenance page design template you prefer and click the tick icon to launch it in the visual frontend page builder.

visual WordPress maintenance mode page builder

You’ll see the template on the right side of the drag-and-drop page builder. You can edit every template part by using the options on your left.

Step 3. Customize Your Maintenance Page

To change the maintenance mode message, click the message on the page and edit it using the inline editor.

WordPress Maintenance mode page message

Here, you can enter a custom maintenance message explaining the downtime to your visitors. Clicking the Advanced tab in the left-hand panel will allow you to change the color, font, spacing, and text-shadow settings.

It’s also possible to change the content order by dragging any page element (called page blocks) from one place to another.

WordPress maintenance mode builder

SeedProd also makes it easy to add extra elements to your page, including contact forms, signup forms, social buttons, and more.

All you need is to choose the page block from the left-hand panel and drag it into position on your page.

For example, you can add a countdown timer that shows how long it is until maintenance is over. You’ll find that block in the Advanced Blocks section. Click the countdown timer icon and drag the blog onto your live page preview.

Add a countdown clock to your maintenance page in wordpress

Now click the timer on your page to view the different customization settings.

customize your maintenance mode countdown timer

You can select the timer type, end date and time, and size, and even add a custom message and CSS.

The countdown timer block also comes with several pre-made block templates you can implement with a single click. Just select the Templates tab and pick one you like.

choose a template for your maintenance mode countdown timer block

Repeat this process for all the elements you want to change on your maintenance page.

Almost all of the different page blocks come with templates, while the advanced blocks can help generate leads for your page, which include:

  • Giveaways – Add a RafflePress online contest to your page to attract leads while you’re under maintenance.
  • Contact Form – Connect a WPForms contact form to your maintenance page so users can get in touch.
  • Optin Form – Allow users to sign up for your newsletter. It also includes a checkbox to keep your form GDPR compliant.
  • Social Profiles – Get more social media followers with prominent social buttons and social media icons.
  • Star Rating – Increase trust by showing customer reviews and positive ratings.

The great thing about SeedProd is that you don’t have to stick with the same page layout you chose initially. You can change every element to make your maintenance page look exactly how you want. It’s even possible to add custom HTML for any specific design tweaks you need.

Imagine your audience doesn’t know why your site is down, but you’d like to help answer their questions to avoid many support tickets. The easiest way would be to add a FAQ section to your maintenance screen.

Since the template we chose doesn’t include a FAQ section, you’ll have to insert one yourself. But it won’t be too difficult.

Besides offering tons of page blocks, SeedProd has various pre-made sections you can add to your page with a few clicks. Just click the Sections tab in the left-hand panel and find the section you need.

To add a FAQ section, click the FAQ heading and choose one of the layouts available by clicking the Plus icon.

SeedProd will automatically add the section to the bottom of your maintenance mode landing page. Then, all you need to do is customize it with your content.

Insert frequently asked questions onto your maintenance mode page

Customizing your maintenance page background image is just as easy. Just click the gear icon in the bottom left of your screen to see SeedProd’s global settings.

Global maintenance mode page settings

Here you can add global fonts, and background colors and change your maintenance page background. You can even add a full-width background video or slideshow.

In addition, you can add any custom CSS for more styling options.

Maintenance page background image settings.

Remember to click the Save button and save settings before moving on.

Step 4. Configure Your Maintenance Page Settings

Next, we’ll show you how to connect your email marketing service and configure your landing page settings.

Connecting Your Email Service Provider

You can connect your email marketing service to your maintenance page to grow your list while you work behind the scenes.

First, click the Optin Form block from the left-hand panel, then drag it onto your maintenance page.

Add an optin form to your WordPress maintenance mode page

Then click it to customize the different options, including which form fields to display, your button styling options, alignment, and more.

Customize your optin form

After that, click the Connect tab at the top of your page to integrate an email marketing service provider.

SeedProd email marketing integrations

SeedProd integrates with several popular marketing services, including Constant Contact, Drip, GetResponse, and more, to help you grow your list. It also allows you to set up Google Analytics Recaptcha for spam protection and connect to thousands of apps via Zapier.

To integrate your email list, click any option on the page and click Connect. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to authorize your account, as shown in the screenshot below.

Connect your email marketing service

Don’t forget to save changes when you’re finished.

Maintenance Page Settings

Now, it’s time to configure your maintenance page settings. Click the Page Settings option at the top of your screen to see the settings page.

SeedProd landing page settings

In the General settings area, you can give your page a new name, change the status from draft to published or vice versa, and enable Isolation Mode. Isolation Mode stops 2 scripts from running to avoid any WordPress theme or plugin conflicts.

The Access Control section lets you create a bypass URL to grant access to specific people. It’s also possible to give access based on the user role logged-in users have.

You can set the page to bypass users with specific cookie settings. However, this may not work on sites with specific caching settings.

maintenance mode access control settings

The SEO and Analytics sections help you manage your pages’ search optimization and traffic statistics. While in the scripts section, you can add custom scripts in your header, body, and footer areas, such as your Facebook tracking pixel.

When you’re happy with your settings, click Save.

Now that your page is ready, it’s time to check the responsiveness before you hit publish.

Check Your Page is Mobile Friendly

By checking your page’s responsiveness, you can ensure your maintenance page looks stunning across all devices.

The option for checking responsiveness is available by clicking the mobile preview icon on the bottom-left side of your page in the Design tab.

Mobile responsive maintenance page

If you click on Desktop, you will see how it appears on other screens.

Check the mobile responsiveness of your maintenance page

Similarly, clicking on Mobile can check its appearance on smaller screens like mobile phones.

Step 5. Publish Your WordPress Maintenance Mode Page

Now, you can hit the publish button so that your page goes live. To do that, click the dropdown arrow next to the Save button.

Then, go ahead and click Publish.

Publish your WordPress maintenance mode page

SeedProd will then notify you that your maintenance page is live. To see how your live site looks, click the See Live Page button.

notification that your page was published

The page below is just an example from our test website. You can develop much better-looking maintenance mode pages for your WordPress site using your creativity.

example how to put WordPress in maintenance mode

Enable WordPress Maintenance Mode

The final step is to turn on maintenance mode for your WordPress website. Go to SeedProd » Pages from your WordPress admin area and find the maintenance mode section.

Enable maintenance mode page in seedprod

Then click the Inactive toggle to activate the WordPress site in maintenance mode.

Logged-in users will usually be able to access the backend, just like you did before. But your visitors will see the maintenance page you just created with SeedProd. Even better, your page won’t be affected if you update WordPress.

You can use this process to put your website in maintenance mode whenever you want to take down your site for a quick fix.

How to Turn off WordPress Maintenance Mode in SeedProd

When you have finished updating and maintaining your website, you can disable maintenance mode so the public can reaccess your website.

You can turn off your maintenance mode by heading to your WordPress admin area and accessing the SeedProd dashboard.

Then, it’s as simple as clicking the toggle from the Active to Inactive position.

how to turn off wordpress maintenance mode

Voila! Maintenance is now disabled, deactivated, and anyone can access your website.

Alternative Methods to Put WordPress in Maintenance Mode

Use WP Maintenance Mode Plugin

Another way to put WordPress in maintenance mode is to use the free WP Maintenance Mode plugin. This is a great solution if you only need to create a simple maintenance page. That said, this method uses the default WordPress editor, so it isn’t as powerful or as customizable as SeedProd’s page builder.

To get started, install and activate the WP Maintenance Mode plugin.

After activating the plugin, you can choose either a coming soon or a maintenance template. Because we’re making a maintenance page, select the “Website is under maintenance” template and click the Continue button.

WP Maintenance template

Now, you’ll have the option to join the WP Maintenance plugin email list. If you don’t want these updates, click the “I’ll skip for now, thanks” link.

WP Maintenance Mode email signup

The plugin will now create a simple maintenance mode page using the built-in template. To see it, click the View Page button.

View your WP Maintenance Mode page

When you view the page, it will open in the WordPress post editor. This allows you to edit your maintenance page as you would with any other WordPress page or post.

Building a maintenance page

The template has several placeholders that you’ll want to edit, such as the social media links. To link the social profiles to your own pages, click them and type your URL into the box that appears.

Add social links to maintenance mode page

When you’re happy with your changes, click the Update button to save your changes.

Now let’s configure your Maintenance page settings. Simply go to Settings » WP Maintenance Mode from your WordPress dashboard and click the General tab.

WP Maintenance Settings

To ensure you don’t affect your WordPress SEO during maintenance mode, it’s a good idea to enable the ‘Bypass for Search Bots’ option, allowing search engine crawlers to bypass the maintenance page and access your site.

This is because, by default, search engine bots cannot see your site during maintenance mode, and this can negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Bypass for Search Bots

If you’re the website admin, you can access your WordPress website and dashboard when it’s in maintenance mode. However, you may want to give access to other users, such as authors and editors.

To do that, open the Backend dropdown box and choose a user role from the list.

Backend user role settings

Alternatively, you can choose the Frontend Role options to give access to your public-facing site.

Like SeedProd, you can exclude pages from maintenance mode so users can still access them. You can do that by adding the URL slug to the Exclude box.

Exclude maintenance URL

It’s worth exploring the additional settings available, most of which are easy to understand. Once you have configured maintenance mode to your satisfaction, click on the “Save settings” button to save your changes.

Activating maintenance mode can be done at any time by going to the “General” tab and selecting the “Activated” radio button.

Activate maintenance mode

Next, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save Settings button. To see how your maintenance page looks, open the page in an incognito window.

When maintenance is over, you can go back to the settings page, click the General tab, and select the Deactivated option. Once you save your changes, maintenance mode will no longer be active on your website.

Put WordPress in Maintenance Mode Manually

We have an alternative solution for website owners who don’t wish to use a WordPress maintenance mode plugin.

This method requires you to edit your functions.php file to activate WordPress’s default maintenance mode. If you’re not familiar or comfortable with editing WordPress files, use the more straightforward method above.

Before trying this, we recommend you back up your website before continuing to prevent breaking your site. Contact your WordPress hosting provider for help with that.

You can also edit the file manually or use the file manager.

Follow these instructions to activate WordPress’s default maintenance page when updating themes, plugins, or your core WordPress files.

Navigate to Appearance » Theme Editor from your WordPress admin dashboard and look for your functions.php file.

Then, add the following code snippet to the end of the file:

// Activate WordPress Maintenance Mode
function wp_maintenance_mode() {
if (!current_user_can('edit_themes') || !is_user_logged_in()) {
wp_die('<h1>Under Maintenance</h1><br />Website under planned maintenance. Please check back later.');
}
}
add_action('get_header', 'wp_maintenance_mode');

You can customize your message by changing the text between the quotes on line 4.

The drawback of using this method is you won’t have access to any of the lead-generating features you’ll get when using a plugin like SeedProd, such as:

  • Optin forms to grow your email list
  • Social profile buttons for more followers
  • Powerful WordPress contact forms
  • Social sharing buttons to increase brand awareness

WordPress Maintenance Mode Best Practices

When implementing WordPress Maintenance Mode, it’s essential to follow best practices to ensure a smooth experience for your users and maintain your website’s SEO rankings. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Communicate Clearly: Your maintenance mode page should clearly communicate to visitors that your site is temporarily unavailable due to maintenance. It’s also helpful to provide an estimated time when the site will be back up and running.
  • Maintain Brand Consistency: Even though your site is under maintenance, it’s important to maintain brand consistency. Use your brand’s logo, colors, and fonts on your maintenance mode page. This helps to reassure visitors that they’re in the right place.
  • Provide Contact Information: If possible, provide a way for visitors to contact you while your site is under maintenance. This could be an email address, phone number, or a link to your social media profiles.
  • Keep SEO in Mind: While your site is under maintenance, it’s important to keep SEO in mind. Make sure your maintenance mode page is optimized for search engines, and use the time to perform SEO tasks like updating meta tags and improving site speed.
  • Test Before Going Live: Before you put your site into maintenance mode, test the process on a staging site. This allows you to identify and fix any issues before they affect your live site.
  • Notify Users in Advance: If possible, notify users in advance that your site will be going into maintenance mode. This can be done through an email newsletter, a notice on your site, or a post on social media.
  • Limit Downtime: Aim to keep your site’s downtime to a minimum. Plan your maintenance tasks carefully and try to perform them during off-peak hours when fewer visitors are likely to be affected.
  • Check Responsiveness: Ensure that your maintenance mode page is responsive and looks good on all devices. This is particularly important as more and more people are using mobile devices to browse the web.

WordPress Maintenance Mode FAQs

My site is stuck in maintenance mode; what should I do?

If your site is stuck in maintenance mode after an update, it may be because the .maintenance file was not deleted. Access your site’s root directory via FTP and delete the file.

Can I allow certain users to view the website while in maintenance mode?

Yes, SeedProd lets you set role-based access. This means you can allow administrators or other roles to view and use the site normally while visitors see the maintenance mode page.

Will maintenance mode affect my SEO ranking?

If handled properly, maintenance mode will not harm your SEO ranking. It’s important to use the HTTP 503 status code (Service Unavailable), which tells search engines that the downtime is temporary. Most WordPress maintenance mode plugins handle this for you.

Does maintenance mode affect all pages of my website?

Yes, by default, when you activate maintenance mode, it applies to your entire website. However, some plugins allow you to choose specific pages to apply maintenance mode to.

Next, More WordPress Maintenance Mode Tips

We hope this article helped you learn how to put WordPress in maintenance mode. All that’s left is to dive in and create a powerful maintenance page that helps secure more leads and grow your business.

You might also find the following related guides helpful:

Thanks for reading! We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment with any questions and feedback.

You can also follow us on YouTubeX (formerly Twitter), and Facebook for more helpful content to grow your business.

author avatar
Stacey Corrin Writer
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

Comments

  1. the most importen thing is: it must simply work! and dont waste time of users which such a simply thing like a maintenance site. Its not possible to change the big background picture. the preview links doesn`t work. very very sad. bon voyage :)

    1. Hi Marcel, we’re sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with your maintenance page. We can assure you that changing your background image and previewing your design is possible with SeedProd. However, with the manual code method, that won’t be possible. Please check out our maintenance mode documentation, or if you need more help, do feel free to submit a support ticket.

  2. Hello! I have followed the instructions (I think! LOL) and my wordpress dashboard has the orange “maintenance mode active” info at the top, BUT anyone who checks my website, says they don’t see the nice Maint Mode page…. they only see the construction debris on my website ;) Not sure what to check next? Thank you!

  3. Hi there, Loving your product, however I’m on the free version, and can only see the maintenance page on mobile view… I do not wish for others to view the website in desktop as I haven’t even launched it yet! Anyway this can be taken down and/or also replaced with a maintenance page? Thanks!

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